PAULINE WANGUI’s story hit the airwaves and captured the attention of many on 2nd February 2021 after her story and experience as a widow were featured on a local TV station’s news.
Pauline is a mother of three whose husband died in November 2020 from COVID-19 after being hospitalized for a week. Similar to what the majority of the widows in the country go through after the death of their husbands, her in-laws accused her of being responsible for her husband’s death, and immediately she started to experience cruelty from them a shift that she had never seen coming.
She explained that before the death of her husband, the relationship with her in-laws was the best and there was no point that she had the doubt of their unconditional love for her.
Immediately after the death of her husband, the in-laws stormed into her house and took away everything including the 200 chicken they had for commercial purposes together with the eggs, utensils, furniture and their car leaving her with nothing. She was even denied the right of burring her husband as she was asked not to attend the funeral.
Since they were living in a rented house and the chicken which provided an alternative source of income taken away by her in-laws, Pauline could not afford to raise the rent for the house as her job could not meet her family’s daily needs as well as cater for rent. She was forced to move to a smaller house in Kirigiti Kiambu county, where she had to start life afresh.
Pauline says that she continues to experience the cruelty from the in-laws including threats especially after her story was featured on the local news. Her first-born daughter who is 20 years old went to live with Pauline’s in-laws and while there she was fed with false information accusing her of killing her father. Since then, she has not been in communication with her daughter and in cases where the daughter responds to Pauline’s attempt to communicate all she gets are insults from her.
Pauline’s story caught the attention of Dianah Kamande C.E.O Cometogether Widows and Orphans Organization (CTWOO) when Mr. Ndung’u Nyoro did a post in his Facebook page to advertise the CTWOO’s Valentines day Meet and Greet Dinner. On this post majority of Mr Nyoro’s followers nominated and suggested that Pauline to be sponsored to the event by Mr. Nyoro and this is why Dianah decided to bring Pauline to the event on a complementary ticket. Since then, she was focused in ensuring Ms. Pauline was back on her feet again by bringing her friends and friends of CTWOO on board.
Mr Karanagu wa Muraya, Mr. Ndung’u Nyoro and Ms. Dianah Kamande’s Facebook pages were used to solicit financial help from well-wishers who heed to the call and the team was able to raise over KES 100,000.
In order for the sustainability of the help Pauline got, it was seen wise for her to find a skill or a busines that she believes she can be able to run for her to be financially independent. Pauline who has studied hairdressing and beauty, a skill that has ensured she has a roof over her head and food, said that she used to own a salon before the death of her husband and is very ready to reopening the salon but she lacks capital.
On hearing Pauline’s plea, Mr. Peter Nyaga MD Certified Homes Limited who has been on the front line in the empowerment of widows in Kenya offered to help her start the business with a total of KES 15,000, and the followers of the above-mentioned Facebook pages topped up capital to start the salon.
Finally, Kiambu County Deputy Governor Madam Joyce Ngugi who is a widow too was greatly touched by Pauline’s story gave her accommodation in one of her apartments for free for a whole year and before she found a job, she asked her to be cleaning these apartments where she will get money to meet her needs.
Ms. Pauline Wangui is a reflection of what most widows go through in the country. She was fortunate to get the help she got to enable her to get back on her feet again a chance majority lack and as a result, they are subjected to adverse poverty. CTWOO condemns any form of Widow Abuse advocating for their rights and empowerment always ensuring we MAKE WIDOWS MATTER.